Thanks again to David Friedman for sharing such an important fundamental:

COMMUNICATE TO BE UNDERSTOOD. Know your audience.  Write and speak in a way that they can understand. Avoid using internal lingo, acronyms, and industry jargon. Use the simplest possible explanations.

If the person you are speaking with is outside your company and industry, why confuse them with insider language?

Kenny G: Industry jargon is something we are all guilty of (unintentionally). How many times do we use automotive lingo when speaking to customers. I catch myself using acronyms such as TRC, EVTM, PSN, CPWD, BPN, FFN, PTS, etc. expecting that the person I’m speaking to will understand. This can bring a level of confusion and frustration to the conversation. When this happens, the point you are trying to make can be lost. If you confuse people, you lose people, and it is very hard to regain their attention. The use of jargon puts people in the dark and they wind up tuning you out, your audience is lost. Try speaking in plain terms and if you must use Industry Jargon, use it sparingly and explain it before you use it.

Scott D: Our company probably has the most acronyms of any company and it does get confusing. Like you, I get caught up in using the industry lingo so I have tried to use the full words of the acronym and explain to customers what it actually means during conversations.

Gordon G: Our company is always coming out with some new program or position within the company. The new acronyms confuse me and we are familiar with the code breakers. How indeed can we expect our customers to understand.

This is one we should all pay attention to! Please all go forward with your Outside Sales Rep (OSR) and discuss Preferred Service Network (PSN) for one of your Certified Parts Wholesale Dealers..(CPWD)

Dave O: Using acronyms at the right time and place is a great way to “Speak to your Audience”. If you are aware of the level of knowledge of the person you are speaking to, you will have a much more meaningful communication. No one is alienated and your points are understood.

Ryan B: And not just industry lingo but a whole different language that some communicate with. Kenny can attest to this and maybe others, but coming from a technician background, I could get very technical with customers, which is a no no. I didn’t realize I was doing it until I started getting the deer in the headlight looks, because I talked like this all the time. I would apologize and try to use language and examples that they could understand and not trying to dumb them down. Don’t want anyone to feel like they are stupid. Even though they are ignorant to what I’m talking about, they aren’t stupid. I can talk Navy that probably none of you would understand. Even if you were in the Navy, you might not have been in the same area as I was and wouldn’t know what a DIFAR buoy was.

Even in the same organization or field, when someone sees that we give co-op money to bring on an additional “OSP” most of those in the corporate world don’t know what we are talking about. But we are talking about an OSR.

Kevin P: I would have to agree with everyone’s assessment.  If there was one thing I picked up in Marketing Communication, it was the KISS Principle.  Even now, many of you are asking what the KISS Principle, or acronym means.

KISS, a backronym for “keep it simple, stupid“, is a design principle noted by the U.S. Navy in 1960. The KISS principle states that most systems work best if they are kept simple rather than made complicated; therefore simplicity should be a key goal in design, and that unnecessary complexity should be avoided.

The more you complicate a message, the better chances you will loose your audience.

Ryan B: I use KISS all the time and never knew it came from the Navy. Thanks for sharing. 

Reading responses like those above are quite humbling to me. It is encouraging that we have individuals with this much depth to them. A special thanks to our team for their participation. We believe it is a privilege to learn something new each day. For more information, contact OCP here.